Puns about books? I'm drawing a blank! (page)
September 28, 2010 1:20 PM   Subscribe

I need 144 (or maybe 36) different bad puns, "witty" sayings, and short jokes (plus accompanying pictures) about reading and books. Can you help me?

This is for a birthday present for my best friend. He reads upwards of ten books at a time, and always uses a bookmark. Unfortunately he's always losing them, so he uses scraps of junk and receipts instead, despite having expressed a distinct enjoyment of nice cardstock bookmarks. He wouldn't ever use a leather or metal bookmark for fear of losing the valuable gift.

So, I've bought lovely colored cardstock. I'm going to cut it down into one gross of bookmarks, and customize each one. This will give him enough bookmarks that he doesn't have to feel bad about losing them, but each one will be nice and special.

I have these little rubber blocks I'm going to carve a handful of different objects/characters/designs into, and use acrylic paint to make prints on each bookmark. Then, I'll hand-write the saying or pun. Don't worry, I have over 2 months to get this done.

To give you an idea of the cheesiness/wittiness I'm looking for, here, my brother has come up with this horrible idea, that I'm definitely going to use:

A picture of a cute little ghost, maybe wearing glasses, and the phrase "BOOK! Did I scare you?"

I have enough carving material for about 16 different little images. There will be 144 bookmarks but I suppose each one doesn't have to be unique - I have 4 different colors so maybe just 36 different sayings, and I can mix and match the images if they don't have particular relevance to the phrase.

My friend reads all sorts of different genres. D&D manuals, hard science fiction, nonfiction history accounts, books about bread making, pulpy fantasy, memoirs, travelogues, you name it. He finds cheesy jokes mildly distasteful but secretly endearing.

So, please, MeFi, can you help me?? Do you have ideas that I can have, both for the phrases and for what little images I should carve?
posted by Mizu to Grab Bag (30 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
This may be too long for a bookmark, but I love this joke:

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
posted by danceswithanonymity at 1:24 PM on September 28, 2010 [6 favorites]

"Book him, Danno." (with cop or handcuffs)
"I'm all booked up." (someone at a desk with stacks of books)
"We better book it...to the library" (running feet)
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 1:27 PM on September 28, 2010

For source material, I would go to a library used book store (like Half Price Books) and look at those big joke books for kids. Sometimes they divide the jokes up by topic, so it's easy to search; you could probably get a few dozen that way.

Your idea sounds awesome and that joke is terrible. :)

Images: Bookworm, apple, pencil, personified alphabet characters?
posted by ramenopres at 1:28 PM on September 28, 2010

A trail of fractured/chewed up Chinese words, and a bookworm saying "Man, I'm always hungry an hour after I eat Chinese."
posted by jbickers at 1:32 PM on September 28, 2010

What building has the most stories?
The library.

Never judge a book by its movie. -J. W. Eagan

A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read. -Mark Twain

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore? -Henry Ward Beecher
posted by anderjen at 1:39 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
P.J. O'Rourke

I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.
Groucho Marx

If you have never said "Excuse me" to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you are probably wasting too much valuable reading time.
Sherri Chasin Calvo

Better Read than Dead
posted by faineant at 1:47 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Illustration of your own design: Bookie Monster.
posted by Skot at 1:48 PM on September 28, 2010

Danceswithanonymnity -- that's classic Groucho Marx!

If you wanted to go the way of wisdom instead of humor (not that the two are mutually exclusive) you can look here.
posted by custard heart at 1:51 PM on September 28, 2010

McSweeney's lists section has literary puns sometimes. I couldn't find anything online about reproducing their works though...
posted by youngergirl44 at 1:51 PM on September 28, 2010

"To my daughter Leonora without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time." - Wodehouse

Question asked of a librarian: "Why don't you have any books by Ibid? He's written a lot of important stuff." (or "Id.")
posted by John Cohen at 2:08 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do at least one running joke that spans across multiple bookmarks. Like a parody of multi-volume book series for instance ("The Bookmark Chronicles - Volume One: Marked for Death", "The Bookmark Chronicles - Volume Two: Mark of the Beast", etc.)
posted by burnmp3s at 2:12 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you like Kipling?
I don't know, I've never kipled.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 2:14 PM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

This is a great idea, but I fear he won't use the bookmarks. He'll love them too much, especially after all the work you're putting into them and won't want to lose any. (I know I wouldn't want to lose any if I received such a gift.)

So maybe, don't make them too nice.

Almost hit "post" and thought of this:
How about also making a frame-able print (or mini book) of your hand-carved illustrations and all the puns you used so he can have a 'back up' version of your project. He'll be more likely to use the bookmarks (and not be upset over losing one) if he's still got something to keep to remember your thoughtfulness and the puns as well.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:15 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Lots of quotes here!
posted by peagood at 2:45 PM on September 28, 2010

You might get inspiration if you do a google image search for things like "library poster" or "book slogan". Some things I saw:

FREADOM with a picture of the statue of liberty
Will Power with a picture of Shakespeare
I like a book with a hoppy ending with a picture of a frog book.

From somesuchpun.com:
Having great vocabulary didn't save the Thesaurus from extinction/eradication/extirpation with a picture of a dinosaur.
Grover Cleveland is the Monster at the End of This Book. with a photoshopped picture of Grover Cleveland having the head of Grover the Muppet.
There is also a photo of a Table of Contents and a Captcha in the Rye. And Tequila Mockingbird. Depends on how good your drawing skills are.

On another site, there is a story about Heidi Saha, and one poster says
Looking at Heidi can be Hobbit-forming. I'm no good at jokes but it seems like you could change that one....
Reading can be Hobbit-forming or someone will chime in with a better idea.
posted by CathyG at 2:48 PM on September 28, 2010

Image of a police-person: Throw the book at him. (Book him?)
Image of a fisher-person: Book, line, and sinker.
A fashion model: You've got the book.

Oh god, these are terrible. Forget I said anything.
posted by bluejayway at 2:52 PM on September 28, 2010

I can't find the link but somewhere out there is a pattern for a cross stitch book mark that says "Fuck Off I'm Reading" in lovely, swirly, "home is where the heart is" type letters.
posted by BoscosMom at 3:11 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

'If you've only ever read one book in your life, then I strongly suggest you keep your mouth shut.'
-Simon Munnery
posted by permafrost at 3:39 PM on September 28, 2010

I love this idea! Very cool.

Going through the "books" and "reading" tags at a site like GoComics might provide you with some inspiration. In just a few clicks I found some terrific gems.

Maybe a stamp of the classic Groucho joke glasses? Would be perfect with his quotes, but also seems to fit with the humor/nerd/cheesy vibe you're going for.
posted by mellavellum at 4:09 PM on September 28, 2010

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:18 PM on September 28, 2010

This novel is not to be tossed lightly aside, but to be hurled with great force. -- Dorothy Parker
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:19 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh my goodness, what a novel idea for a gift! ;)

1) The bookworm, nose in a book, tripped and fell from his apartment window. Luckily it was just a few short stories, and he reached the end unscathed.
2) When the author booked the antagonist in his crime novel, he served him endpapers.
3) His friends assured him she was well-read. He opened the door to find his sunburned blind date.
4) Inspired by a conjoined cat scratching about his flat, Charles wrote a book called "A Tail of Two Kitties." Readers everywhere cried, "What the dickens?"
posted by ElectricBlue at 5:02 PM on September 28, 2010

Health tips for bookworms: Writers cramp, readers digest!
posted by Allee Katze at 6:03 PM on September 28, 2010

Not a joke per se, but here's the entry on Reading n. from The Devil's Dictionary:
The general body of what one reads. In our country it consists, as a rule, of Indiana novels, short stories in "dialect" and humor in slang.

We know by one's reading
His learning and breeding;
By what draws his laughter
We know his Hereafter.
Read nothing, laugh never —
The Sphinx was less clever!
—Jupiter Muke
posted by carsonb at 6:35 PM on September 28, 2010

Little picture of a book anthropomorphized with a smiley face. Lots of speech bubbles around, "OK" and "Yeah!" and "Sure thing!" and "Great!" and "Good idea!"

Text underneath: Binding agreement.

Same picture, but this time it's wearing thick ol' glasses, a pencil moustache, and holding a mic, singing

"You can't judge an apple by lookin' at the tree
You can't judge honey by lookin' at the bee
You can't judge a daughter by lookin' at the mother
You can't judge a book by lookin' at the cover!"
posted by carsonb at 6:42 PM on September 28, 2010

Book lovers never go to bed alone.

All of my books have pictures in them...
even if I have to draw them myself.

Why did the Romanian stop reading for the night?
To give his Bucharest.

What's the difference between a schoolboy and an angler?
One hates his books.The other baits his hooks.

What's the difference between a boring person and a boring book?
You can shut the book up.

Why does an elephant use his trunk as a bookmark?
So he always nose where he stopped reading.

What building has the most stories?
The library.

Why does the ghost always need more books?
He goes through them too quickly.
posted by taz at 11:45 PM on September 28, 2010

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. Mark Twain (attributed.)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:28 AM on September 29, 2010

I like big books and I cannot lie.
posted by Jabberwocky at 6:36 AM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: My goodness, I knew you guys would be good at this. I'll mark the ones I actually end up using as best answer, and if you have any more ideas, I welcome them! If I get my act together, I might scan the best ones and post them to Projects, so keep an eye out mid-December.
posted by Mizu at 12:01 PM on September 29, 2010

Here's a poem I wrote a long time ago:

Book stores don't sell books;
Just paper, ink, and thread.
The only books you truly own
Are the books that you have read.
posted by governale at 7:58 PM on September 29, 2010

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